The Texans survived Sunday's game against the Steelers after all-world wide receiver Andre Johnson exited with an injured hamstring. Early indications are that Houston may have to forge on without Johnson for even longer.
The 3-1 Texans are reportedly concerned that Johnson could miss a few games, with his status for Week 5 very much in jeopardy.
Hamstring injuries are notoriously fickle and can be long-lasting, depending on the severity. They are especially difficult for an athlete like Johnson, who relies so much on his speed and leaping ability.
Houston relied on its defense and running back Arian Foster to down the Steelers Sunday -- QB Matt Schaub threw for just 138 yards, the lowest total he's ever put up in a game he's attempted 20 or more passes. The Texans might have to continue down that path if Johnson's out, though it's worth pointing out Houston went 2-1 without Johnson in 2010 and threw for more than 250 yards per game.
The upcoming schedule does not figure to be all that friendly, even with Johnson in the lineup. Houston hosts Oakland in Week 5, then travels to Baltimore and Tennessee in Weeks 6 and 7, respectively. The latter two teams boast the top two defenses in terms of points allowed in the NFL.
Keeping Foster healthy could be Houston's key to surviving in the event of Johnson's absence.
The Texans' No. 1 running back rushed for 155 yards in the win over Pittsburgh, Foster's first full game this season. Ironically enough, he'd been dealing with a hamstring injury of his own -- that ailment kept Foster out of the lineup in Weeks 1 and 3 and limited him in Week 2. When Johnson fell to the turf Sunday, crumpling on his own without contact from a Pittsburgh defender, it initially looked like he had suffered a serious knee injury. The Texans were thankful to dodge that bullet, but they're not out of the woods yet with Johnson.